FanDuel - WFBC

September 04, 2011

Parity in North American Sports?: Just a quick breakdown of champions in the 4 major North American sports for the last 20 seasons.

So, on a lazy Sunday morning I decided to plunge into the various websites in the Sports-Reference.com network and look up all the previous champions for each league, and see what I could find.

Below are the four leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA), and their last 20 champions.

The number in the brackets indicates the number of years since they last won a championship, or the number of years the franchise had been in existence before winning that championship.

An * indicates it is the first time the franchise won a championship.

MLB
San Francisco Giants (56)
New York Yankees (8)
Philadelphia Phillies (28)
Boston Red Sox (3)
St. Louis Cardinals (24)
Chicago White Sox (88)
Boston Red Sox (86)
Florida Marlins (6)
Anaheim Angels (41) *
Arizona Diamondbacks (4) *
New York Yankees (1)
New York Yankees (1)
New York Yankees (2)
Florida Marlins (5) *
New York Yankees (18)
Atlanta Braves (38)
Toronto Blue Jays (1)
Toronto Blue Jays (15) *
Minnesota Twins (4)
Cincinnati Reds (24)

NFL
Green Bay Packers(14)
New Orleans Saints (32) *
Pittsburgh Steelers (3)
New York Giants (17)
Indianapolis Colts (36)
Pittsburgh Steelers (26)
New England Patriots (1)
New England Patriots (2)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26) *
New England Patriots (41) *
Baltimore Ravens (5) *
St. Louis Rams (48)
Denver Broncos (1)
Denver Broncos (37) *
Green Bay Packers (29)
Dallas Cowboys (2)
San Francisco 49ers (5)
Dallas Cowboys (1)
Dallas Cowboys (15)
Washington Redskins (4)

NHL
Boston Bruins (39)
Chicago Blackhawks (49)
Pittsburgh Penguins (17)
Detroit Red Wings (6)
Anaheim Ducks (13) *
Carolina Hurricanes (26) *
Tampa Bay Lightning (11) *
New Jersey Devils (3)
Detroit Red Wings (4)
Colorado Avalanche (5)
New Jersey Devils (5)
Dallas Stars (31) *
Detroit Red Wings (1)
Detroit Red Wings (42)
Colorado Avalanche (16) *
New Jersey Devils (20) *
New York Rangers (54)
Montreal Canadiens (7)
Pittsburgh Penguins (1)
Pittsburgh Penguins (23) *

NBA
Dallas Mavericks (30) *
Los Angeles Lakers (1)
Los Angeles Lakers (7)
Boston Celtics (22)
San Antonio Spurs (2)
Miami Heat (17) *
San Antonio Spurs (2)
Detroit Pistons (14)
San Antonio Spurs (4)
Los Angeles Lakers (1)
Los Angeles Lakers (1)
Los Angeles Lakers (12)
San Antonio Spurs (31) *
Chicago Bulls (1)
Chicago Bulls (1)
Chicago Bulls (3)
Houston Rockets (1)
Houston Rockets (26) *
Chicago Bulls (1)
Chicago Bulls (1)

Average time between championships:
MLB: 22.7 years
NFL: 17.3 years
NHL: 18.7 years
NBA: 8.9 years

It looks like long-suffering fans of baseball teams have been handsomely rewarded for waiting. This is obviously helped by the White Sox and Red Sox ending 80+ year championship droughts. However, that is still a pretty big number when you consider the multiple Yankee championships, and the relative young age of the Marlins and Diamondbacks.
The NFL and NHL have also been kind to ending long streaks.
(Does this mean there is hope for this hopeless Maple Leafs and Bills fan? Probably not.)

First time winners:
MLB: 4
NFL: 5
NHL: 7
NBA: 4

The NHL stands out from the pack in this category. That was definitely helped by the three year warm-weather championship run (Anaheim, Carolina, Tampa Bay).

Different franchises:
MLB: 14
NFL: 13
NHL: 13
NBA: 8

In this case, the NBA looks like it has severely lacked a lot of parity in the last 20 years. There are two 5-time champions (Los Angeles, Chicago), a 4-time champion (San Antonio), and a 2-time champion (Houston). That accounts for 16 of the last 20 champions, from only 4 teams.

Longest consecutive season streak with different franchises winning:
MLB: 7 (2000-2006)
NFL: 5 (2006-2010), (1998-2002)
NHL: 8 (2003-2010)
NBA: 4 (2005-2008)

Current consecutive season streak with different teams winning:
MLB: 6 (San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago)
NFL: 5 (Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, New York, Indianapolis)
NHL: 8 (Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Anaheim, Carolina, Tampa Bay, New Jersey)
NBA: 2 (Dallas, Los Angeles)

The MLB and NHL shine when it comes to the touting that anyone could win, as it seems to have been the case in the past 20 years as they have had long stretches where different teams have won.

Number of seasons where champion is repeated:
MLB: 3 (2000, 1999, 1993)
NFL: 3 (2004, 1998, 1993)
NHL: 2 (1998, 1992)
NBA: 8 (2009, 2001, 2000, 1997, 1996, 1994, 1992, 1991)

The NBA has a real problem with parity, and has for the last 20 years. I guess dynasties are fun to talk about, but not if your team is not one of them.

Please note:

1) I listed the year of the championship based on when the regular season started. So the Mavericks, Bruins, Packers, and Giants are all 2010 champions.

2) The NHL (2004) and MLB (1994) had no champions, so I had to go back an extra year to get 20 championships.

3) NFL championships also include pre-Super Bowl seasons (Rams, Patriots) in the original NFL and AFL.

4) The Baltimore Ravens are listed as a separate franchise from the Cleveland Browns in Sports-Reference.com (as a new Cleveland Browns team reappeared a couple seasons later and the NFL insists they are considered one franchise). Every other franchise that moved before winning a championship (Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes), or since last winning one (Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Rams) inherited the championships (and seasons) of their previous incarnation/location.

posted by grum@work to at 01:34 PM - 0 comments

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